Too many drivers are using their phones at the wheel and getting away with it

9 July 2024, 13:53 | Updated: 9 July 2024, 13:58

Too many people are getting away with using phones while driving, says Johnny Jenkins
Too many people are getting away with using phones while driving, says Johnny Jenkins. Picture: Alamy
Johnny Jenkins

By Johnny Jenkins

Why do so many drivers use their mobiles while driving? Because they keep getting away with it.

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Cycling through London can feel like tackling an obstacle course - pedestrians walking into the road, traffic lights every 50 feet and drivers constantly making unexpected turns.

Riding my bike in the capital has also opened my eyes to something else: drivers using their mobile phones while stuck in traffic.

Cars in London often end up in long queues and drivers turn to their devices while the engine is still rolling.

I thought that effective public information campaigns had already wiped out the crime of texting while driving. I was wrong.

A new report has found that 19 per cent of Brits admit to handling their phone while their vehicle is stationary. One in five… are you one of them?

This is illegal and has been since the Nokia era - a preventative law was established in 2003. Two years ago, a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to handling a device when driving was introduced.

Sounds promising, but it’s not being properly enforced.

The study, conducted by Aviva, should worry us all. Martin Smith, from the insurer, said: ‘a large proportion of drivers are taking serious risks while behind the wheel of a car.’

Smith says: ‘changing a few of your driving habits only takes a few minutes and can prevent an incident from occurring.’

Cyclists get a lot of stick, mainly because of videos published on social media by high-profile campaigners.

While you might find it entertaining to slag us off, we should turn the attention to drivers - too many of whom are routinely breaking the law.

Before you call me a bike w*nker, just look at the numbers.

22 people were killed and 148 were seriously injured in crashes in which a driver was using their mobile in the UK in 2022. These deaths are preventable.

The number of convictions for using a phone at the wheel reached a seven-year high last year, but we can do better.

We need to harness new technology to improve enforcement cameras and educate drivers once again about the risks of tapping your device in the car.

Too many criminals are getting away with it and too many cyclists are dying as a result.

The solution is simple - stop using your phone at the wheel!